Skin peeling, especially on your hands can occur for many different reasons.  Your hands are used on a regular basis.  During the day your hands can become irritated.  When this irritation happens regularly, it can lead to skin peeling.  The main reasons that your hands may be peeling are dry skin, or being exposed to the elements, but sometimes it can be a sign of an underlying condition.  


Causes Of Dry Skin

Your hands may be peeling because of the weather.  The humidity may be too low or too high which in both instances can cause drying of the hands and cause skin to peel.  In the winter time you can get wind burns, which can cause skin peeling.  In the summer you can get a sunburn which also can cause skin to peel.  

Allergic reactions are another cause of skin peeling.  Allergic reactions can occur from different laundry detergents, shampoos, soaps, or fabric softeners.  Other allergens are metals like nickel, plants, or latex. 

Chemical exposure can cause skin peeling.  Using certain cleaners, or cleaning wipes can also cause irritation.  Some chemical burns need medical assistance.  If you have been in contact of any chemical substance it is best to get help immediately. 

Staph or fungal infections can also cause skin peeling.  Immune system disorders, cancer or cancer treatment can also be a cause.  Medication side effects can also be the cause of skin peeling.  

Health conditions that can cause skin peeling are athlete’s foot, eczema, contact dermatitis, dry skin, jock itch, Kawasaki disease, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pemphigus, ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis, Stevens Johnson syndrome, toxic shock syndrome, palmoplantar psoriasis, and Acral peeling skin syndrome.  

Overwashing your hands can also cause dryness and peeling of the skin.  Handwashing too often, with too hot water, using harsh soaps, drying with a rough paper towel, and using no moisturizer afterwards can be very harsh on your hands.  Hand washing is an important health practice, but doing it the wrong way can cause your hands to be dry, cracked and peeling.  Using excessive amounts of hand sanitizer can also cause dry hands.  


Symptoms To Be Aware Of

Though hand peeling can be a main symptom on its own.  There are other symptoms that can accompany it.  It is important to make sure you note any other symptom you are experiencing, so your doctor can help diagnose the cause of your skin peeling.  Other symptoms include pain or burning skin, itchiness, dryness, rash, swelling, fever, or skin redness. 


Treatment Tips For Soft Hands

Usually peeling skin can be treated on its own with over the counter moisturizers.  The way you treat your peeling skin will be dependent on the underlying cause. 

If sunburns are the cause of peeling skin then using an aloe vera gel, keeping the area moisturized and staying hydrated can all benefit. 

Regular moisturizing your body can also help combat dry, peeling skin.  Dermatologists recommend fragrance free and dye free moisturizers that contain either petrolatum or mineral oil. It is important to moisturize after handwashing, showering, bathing, and before bed.

When hand washing it is important to use lukewarm water, avoid harsh soaps when possible, dry with a soft towel leaving your hands partly wet, then applying a moisturizer.  If using hand sanitizer after the hand sanitizer has dried you can then apply moisturizer.

If the skin is caused by allergens, try to reduce contact with irritants.

When caused by a fungal infection, there are topical antifungal creams you can apply.

Over the counter hydrocortisone creams can be helpful for contact dermatitis.

Using gloves when handling chemicals or cleaners.



Warning Signs

If you see any signs of infection, such as pus, you are running a fever, or have excruciating pain you will want to see your doctor. 

There usually aren’t any complications that can happen with skin peeling, but there can be depending on the cause.  If your skin becomes too dry it can become cracked and bleed.  Toxic shock syndrome can also cause complications.  



The best way to combat peeling skin is to use a moisturizer daily.  Adding moisturizer after your handwashing, and shower can also be beneficial.  There are many causes of why your hands could be peeling.  Usually it is environmental, or contact with an allergen.  Sometimes it can be a sign of an underlying condition.  If you have any other symptoms with the hand peeling you should talk with your doctor for options.  



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